COPE: What originally drew you to COPE and its mission? What has kept you engaged?
Jane: I was originally drawn to COPE a few weeks after my daughter Jennifer had passed away at 15. My girlfriend had seen a small ad about COPE. At the same time, my Rabbi called and suggested I try a meeting for parents who also had lost a child. This turned out to be the same meeting and was COPE.
I have stayed connected to this organization ever since that first meeting. I always say that COPE is something you would never want to join but thank god, every day that it was here for those of us who unfortunately need it.
COPE has connected me with other parents who get it. They know where you’re coming from. No one else can understand and relate to this most horrific event in your life. We understand each other. We can cry and even laugh together. Unless you’ve walked in our shoes and believe me you don’t want to… you can’t possibly understand how we are feeling. To know that you’re not alone. Other people feel just like you do!
COPE: What do you think is unique and special about COPE for families?
Jane: COPE is unique because it’s like a family. Everyone knows each other. We don’t have 50 people in a meeting. The same people come to each meeting. You connect with each other.
COPE: Are there other reflections you want to share with COPE families?
Jane: It will be ten years for me coming up this July. As I look back the COPE families are what gave me the strength that I needed every day, put one foot in front of the other know that I’m not alone. I have my new normal life with my new normal friends. We are more like a family. We are connected through our children. We know each other’s children so well. It’s just an amazing connection. I don’t know where I’d be today without COPE!
COPE: What else would you like to share about your experiences with COPE?
Jane: I’ve learned that helping other newly bereaved parents along my journey has helped me tremendously. I feel that Jennifer is always with me in any of my endeavors with COPE. COPE has kept me connected to my daughter. It’s a safe place to keep sharing things about your child. There is no place else that ten years later it’s still more than okay to talk about your child. It’s wonderful to feel the love of everyone’s child with your own.